Car repair pod planned for busy Preston supermarket, with courtesy vehicles available
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Morrisons has applied for permission to install the so-called ‘pod’ facility in the car park of its Riversway branch, off Mariners Way.
The retailer secured approval last year for a similar venture which would have seen two separate services established - one, an IN'n'OUT Autocentre, offering MOTs and mechanical repairs, and the other an Xpress Centre to fix damage caused by accidents.
Since then, the plans for the latter have changed, with the proposed bodywork repairs now intended to be carried out by Direct Line. The planned pod for that service has been revised as a result, hence the new application.
The IN'n'OUT facility is not part of the fresh planning bid, but the permission granted in 2022 remains in place and the supermarket has told the Lancashire Post that the hope is still to be able to include both facilities on the site.
Documents submitted to Preston City Council state that the Direct Line pod would carry out “minor vehicle body repairs to vehicles which have no structural damage and do not [need taking] off the road into a traditional body shop”.
If the plans for the bodywork facility are approved, two pods would be put in place - one pre-fitted with all of the necessary equipment and the other used for storage - leading to the loss of 44 parking spaces. However, 516 bays would remain and the supermarket says that the siting of the pods would ensure that there was no disruption to shoppers arriving by car or on foot.
It is expected that an average of two repairs would be completed each day, usually taking between three and four hours. A courtesy car would be provided to those using the service.
A design statement accompanying the application adds: “Technology has improved dramatically over the last 10 years which allows vehicle body panels to be repaired quickly and safely...[using] newly developed water base paints.
“The body repair work and painting process takes place in the same workshop area [and] there is built in dust extraction to illuminate any airborne dust particles before painting.
“The spray guns used at Direct Line are High Volume and Low Pressure (HVLP)...[enabling] less paint to be used
“Ninety percent of a vehicle body repair is the preparation, 10 percent is the coating application.”
The application states that the pods would pose no greater flood risk - in what is already a high flood risk area - than that which applied to the existing car park.